VSG takes a stand on sustainability
by Katie Krog
[Article originally featured on InsideVandy]
Vanderbilt Student Government Wednesday passed a resolution to “actively support the highest level of sustainable building practices in all future building and renovation projects it (VSG) has a voice in.”
The resolution, presented by VSG Environmental Affairs Committee Chair Matt Brennan, calls for a commitment to Silver LEED certification for all building projects costing over $5 million and to the highest possible level of certification for all other projects.
In the Senate, the resolution passed unanimously without debate.
In the House, the resolution passed with an overwhelming majority, with only three representatives voting against the resolution. Those opposed to the resolution were Alumni Area Representative David Dipanfilo, West House President Evan Werner and the proxy for Alumni Lawn Area Representative Kenny Tan.
“As a leading institution in the United States and around the world, we should be setting a good example in terms of sustainability practices, and as one of the leading student organizations at such a university, we should make our desire for this future sustainability made known to the university at large and its administration,” Brennan said.
According to the resolution, similar commitments to sustainability are already in place at Duke University, Rice University and Emory University.
Brennan said that Vanderbilt currently has 11 LEED certified buildings, four of which are Gold certified, meaning that they have the highest possible level of certification.
According to Student Body President Adam Meyer, the Environmental Affairs Committee consulted with several members of Vanderbilt administration, including Facilities and Environment Deputy Vice Chancellor Judson Newbern and Plant Operations Assistant Vice Chancellor Mark Petty, when writing the final draft of the resolution.
Taylor Dickinson, co-chair of the Environmental Affairs Committee, said that it is crucial for student support to be a leader in making sure that buildings become LEED certified.
“The intent of our resolution, in our eyes, was to have VSG take a position, take a stand for this, and to help the university know that this is something the student body wants,” Brennan said.